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BEYOĞLU GUIDE

Taksim Monument of the Republic

This monument was built so that the war of independence concluded in victory and the founded young Republic would be adopted by and identified with Istanbul, too, which was the old capital of the Ottoman Empire.
In the first years of the Republic, the name of the street was changed from "Cadde-i Kebir" (Big Street) to "Istiklal Street", however, this was not deemed adequate in terms of urban reality and it was considered that relating the enthusiasm of the Republic, the story of the War of Independence to new generations by a more contemporary language, a monument could be more meaningful. To that end, while initiatives were taken to have the public’s financial contribution to the project, on the other hand, the famed Italian sculptor Pietro Canonica was invited for the construction. The monument was completed in 1928 with the contributions of two young Turks; Mr. Hadi (Bara) and Ms Sabiha (Bengütaş).
At the inauguration, there was no landscaping; the monument stood in the middle of a totally vacant area. The famed architect of the period, Mongeri, has set up a circular design and Taksim turns into a square with its monument and roads. The monument is a rectangular mass 11 m high, lined with pink and green colored marble, surrounded with pointed arches on four faces, composed of small and large, open and closed niches. It raises upon a rather broad base comprising semi-circular and arc segments.
The insides of the closed niches are highly crowded. On one face, there stand the people, soldiers, commanders, Mustafa Kemal, Ismet and Fevzi Paşas who fought the War of Independence and President Mustafa Kemal, members of the Grand National Assembly, students and people are in the other face. On the other two faces, one can see heros holding flags and Turkish women who acted like men in the war inside a medallion. These successful compositions have  emphasized the transition from war to peace, from poverty to the bright future of the Republic, with a believing enthusiasm.

Eurocities UCLG-MEWA